Social Policy and Childbearing Behaviour in Japan Since the 1960s. An Individual Level Perspective

Li Ma, Demography Unit, Department of Sociology, Stockholm University

Japan is the first country in Asia that underwent noticeable fertility decline. Ever since the early 1990s, Japan has initiated a series of pro-natalist policies, the effects of which have been regarded as unsuccessful. However, most research on policy and fertility in Japan uses period TFR as a measure of fertility. The TFR is a rather crude measure. Linking up recent policy developments and the latest trends in TFR in Japan reveals nothing than a steady decline. This study distinguishes itself by investigating parity-specific effects of policies on fertility through the application of individual-level fertility data and proportional hazard regressions. The estimated results show that recent pro-natalist policies in Japan have almost no elevating effect on the second and third birth rates. But a possible positive impact of the policies on the first birth is discerned in that the first birth rates show a slight recuperation from 1991 onwards.

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Presented in Poster Session 2